KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Unlike Ontario which has a Unified Family Court, in British Columbia there are two courts that handle family legal issues - the Provincial Court and the Supreme Court.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both courts.
The Supreme Court is the higher court and has equitable jurisdiction as well as legal jurisdiction and can handle all family law issues. The downside is that the Supreme Court is paper and rule intensive with the responsibility on the litigant to choose the right form and do what needs to be done, making it difficult for most people to use.
The Provincial Court is much more user-friendly with fill-in-the-blank forms and a simplified process where the registry and court often tell the parent the next step so it is easy to use to solve disputes.
The downside of the Provincial Court is that it has no jurisdiction to grant a divorce nor divide family assets & debts.
However, my decades of experience have taught me to take a long-term big-picture perspective and analyze the unique facts of each client then explain the pros and cons for the client in the future as well as now.
For example, the Supreme Court will not grant a divorce if there are children until there is an Order or Agreement by the parents for child support and a parenting plan.
A divorce and asset division happens once while different parenting issues keep coming up for years thus often the Provincial Court should be used first for all child-related issues then mediate the assets.